“That’s done,” I say, and glance at the to-do list. “Now to do laundry, pack for our Thanksgiving trip, plan for the dog, pay the bills… and then there’s Christmas….”
It’s endless! The more I look at my list, the more I envision crumpling it up and crawling back in bed for a month.
Can you relate?
Clinical professor at Albany Medical College in New York, Dr. Ronald Nathan, says holidays stress us out because “When we think about the holidays, we dwell on the past and what went wrong, or we romanticize it and make it impossible to re-create.”*
We’re tired because we focus on the wrong things – problems or unrealistic expectations – and those drive our insanely tiring holiday schedules and lists. We end up living life like my grandfather used to say, with the “wrong em-PHA-sis on the wrong syl-LA-ble!”
The good news is that focusing on the right things gives us back the energy we need. Here are a few questions to help bring focus to your holiday this year:
What’s your ultimate goal for the holidays?
More than just what you want to DO, who do you want to BE over Thanksgiving, Christmas and everything in between? What do you want people to remember about their time with you?
Think of words to describe those qualities and keep them visible this season. Post them on your bathroom mirror, your car dashboard, your computer monitor and let your mind marinate on them.
It also helps to find a quote or Scripture to support the idea to root it even deeper in your heart and thoughts. Here are two that I desire for myself this season: “Be the fragrance of Christ” (2 Cor 2:15) and “Live the wisdom from above” (see James 3:17).
What tasks today move you toward that goal?
Would shopping for gifts for your spouse support your goal? Or baking? Or calling a friend? Or sitting by the fire with your kids? If so, then do it knowing you’re BEING who you want to be this season – the calm, friendly, financially responsible, thoughtful, or playful person you noted in the section above.
Focus is the key to being less tired this season.
As we keep the vision clear about who we are – who God sees in us – we’ll fashion our days around that instead of unrealistic expectations or past-based fears.
Though focus on the right things, we’ll all have more energy to make the kinds of holiday memories we long for. We’ll move from being “worried and bothered about many things” to choosing “what is better” (Luke 10:42).
What’s your goal this holiday? Leave a comment to make it official, and be encouraged by others who are ready to have more energy this season!
Have a very happy Thanksgiving.